The apple of my eye

Mrs Stovies loves a snifter of Amaretto, and there’s no doubting that she also loves a nice slice of cake too. Moist and moreish, this recipe combines the two and we hope you love it as much as Mrs S does.

40ml Amaretto
40ml Apple juice
100g Sultanas
2 Large cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
170g Butter, very very soft
200g Caster sugar
2 Large eggs
350g Self raising flour, wholemeal
100g Ground almonds
1tsp Cinnamon

To top:
Water icing* (50g icing sugar + 2-3tsp water)
A handful of flaked almonds

*Stir the water in gradually, one tsp first then half a teaspoon at a time allowing to sit for a moment before adding the next. When the icing runs off the spoon in thick ribbons it’s spot on. If not, add a tad more water.

Soak the sultanas in the Amaretto and apple juice. If you are feeling adventurous play with the proportion of booze to juice, you could even swap the Amaretto for Calvados for a doubly appley flavour. Beat the sugar and butter together until creamy, then add the eggs one at a time and keep beating until smooth and glossy. Add flour, ground almonds and cinnamon, mix thoroughly then fold in the apple and sultanas.

Bake in a round tin for about an hour at gas 4 / 180°c and once baked leave to cool for about 20 minutes in the tin before moving the cake to a wire rack. Once completely cool, drizzle with water icing and scatter with flaked almonds.


A nice big slice

Veggie? Meat feast? Caviar and gold leaf? Dress it up, dress it down, any way you like it. Pizza is perfect.

We were wandering around Stockbridge market a few weeks ago and found a phenomenal fennel salami which we would have happily munched on it’s own but as we all know, everything is better on a pizza. Paired with some finely cut broccoli and creamy mozzarella it worked a treat and we hope you like it too.

It won’t be a great pizza without a great base:

200g Strong white bread flour
100g Semolina
1 Sachet instant yeast
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Caster sugar
2 tbsp Rapeseed oil or EV olive oil
200-250ml Water

Mix the flour, yeast and salt together in a large bowl and stir in the oil. Gradually add the water and mixing well to form a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes) then cover and set aside in a warm place to prove for at least an hour and a half.

Next up, you need a really rich tomato sauce to spread on the base. This is our go to recipe and it features in a fair few of our other recipes on here too. You will have leftover sauce, you can freeze it or whip up something else with it. Our parmigiana perhaps? Simply slowly simmer all of the ingredients for an hour or so.

1 can of good quality chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp sugar
1 tbs balsamic
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
2 crushed garlic cloves
Salt & Pepper

Preheat the oven to gas mark 5.

When you’re ready to roll, dust your work surface with flour and roll the dough out into a large rectangle, enough to fill a large baking tray. Make the base as thin as you can without making any holes then arrange onto the baking tray, covering the entire surface. Rectangular pizza’s rock, there are more crispy edges and some special topping only pieces in the middle too.

Spread a thin layer of sauce over the base then sprinkle with grated hard mozzarella (or smoked scamorza for a taste sensation). Cut some broccoli into micro florets and scatter on top of the cheese before layering on plenty of salami. Bake in the oven until the base is crispy and the cheese is bubbled all over.


I’ll make you banana pancakes, pretend like it’s the weekend now*

Mini Stovies can’t get enough of these right now; our own Banana and Date Pancakes, which we are only too happy to make by the mountain load at the weekend. Thanks to the minimal sugar and two portions of fruit this is a happy healthy brekkie for all the family.

The recipe below will make six 4-5 inch pancakes, multiply to your heart’s delight.

2 Large eggs
300 ml Milk
250g Plain flour
1 tsp Baking powder (heaped)
1-2 tsp Sugar
2 Bananas, sliced
A handful of dried dates, chopped

Separate the eggs and beat the whites until stiff. In a large bowl mix together all of the ingredients bar the fruit and mix until smooth. Gently fold in the egg whites.

Heat a small frying pan and wipe lightly with oil or melted butter – just dip a piece of kitchen towel into the butter/oil and swish it over the pan.

Pour a enough batter into the pan to cover to the edges, scatter some chopped dates and a few slices of banana into the cooking pancake. When the top starts to bubble and set flip it over and cook until you can hear the banana pieces sizzle.

Serve warm. For a really indulgent twist spread with peanut butter. Mmmmmmmmmmm.

* a little lyrical accompaniment to your brekkie? Thanks Jack Johnson!


Mr Stovies isn’t so much of a cake maker but this banana loaf is a stalwart of his recipe book and even he can’t mess it up! We’re also led to believe it’s at least 1 of your 5 a day. Maybe even more…

Just in case the title of this post got you wondering if the 80’s popsters were still alive, they are and they’re still performing. It’s not pretty but this cover of their hit Love in the First Degree is.

4 medium ripe bananas
100g white chocolate, chopped into chunks
125g softened butter
3 eggs
3tbsp golden syrup
1tbsp coconut
250g selff raising flour
200g sugar

First things first, preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease a reasonable sized loaf tin (about 1lb size).

Peel the bananas and break them into a large mixing bowl. Smash to a pulp using a hefty wooden spoon. Takes a bit of time but it’s fun!

This bit is a little more taxing – dump all other ingredients in and mix very well into a nice smoothish cake batter. There will still be some lumps of chocolate and banana but the rest of the mixture should be smooth. It’s best to use a spoon and some good old elbow grease for this, mechanical mixing devices will destroy the good lumps.

Pour the batter into the greased tin and bake for an hour to an hour and a half. From an hour onwards check on the loaf regularly as the ripeness of the bananas and the strength of your oven will vary the cooking time. When baked fully it will have risen and be nice and springy to the touch. The standard spike test may not work too well here though as the choc chips and banana will leave goo streaks on it!

Leave in the tin for about quarter of an hour before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

Great served warm with some crème fraîche or custard. The white chocolate turns deliciously caramelly but you could swap it out for a rich dark chocolate and some walnuts instead.

A New York state of mind

Ok, so this isn’t a cook from scratch recipe, it’s more of a Delia’s How to Cheat style recipe. You could make the dough, wait for it to rise whilst you make the sauce and have a lovely jubbly homemade pizza to top in a New York stylee. Or you can do what we did in new baby mode and add toppings to a fancy cheese and tomato pizza from the supermarket.

For one New York Deli Pizza you will need:

1 posh cheese and tomato pizza
pastrami slices
sliced gerkins
1 ball of mozarella
caraway seeds
American mustard

Firstly sprinke some caraway on top of the pizza. Tear up the mozzarella and scatter. Double cheese is always good. Lay on plenty of  pastrami strips, top with gerkin slices, drizzle with mustard and finally sprinkle on a touch more caraway. Bake in the oven according to the instructions on the box.

Ta da! Lazy but oh so good.

Crumbly goodness

Happy New Year Stovies’ fans, we hope you had a good one and are almost recovered from your festive excesses. Team Stovies have certainly been feeling the waistbands straining a little more than usual!

Now that the tins of Christmas biccies have all been eaten Mr Stovies has been baking up some healthy-ish treats to refill the tins with. This is old school baking with no gadgets required.

Simple Oaty Slices:

175g Porridge oats
30g Flaked almonds (or chopped hazelnuts if you fancy)
125g Wholemeal or brown flour
1tsp Bicarbonate of soda
75g Dessicated coconut
150g Caster sugar
30ml Golden syrup
150g Butter

In a bowl mix together the oats, flour, sugar, coconut and almonds. In a large saucepan slowly melt together the butter, golden syrup and bicarb.

When the liquid starts to foam,  thoroughly mix in the dry ingredients and transfer to a greased baking tray. Bake in a medium oven (gas 4/180’c) for 15 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting into either mouth sized morsels or man sized chunks of crumbly goodness.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a mince pie or two. We know that it’s only the beginning of December but this mincemeat does benefit from a couple of weeks in the jar to develop the flavour. If you do forget though don’t fret, this recipe tastes great anyway and can be used instantly.

You will need:

1 Large cooking apple, peeled & cored
1tbsp Water
350g Mixed fruit
50g Mixed candied peel
1 tbsp Marmalade
500g Dark muscovado sugar
1 Lemon, juiced and zested
200g Vegetable suet
30 ml Whisky
1/2 tsp Ground allspice

Stew the apple in the water until soft. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and pour it into a sterilised jar until you need it.

To make catherine wheel mince pies like the one in our pick simply spread some mincemeat over a sheet of ready made puff pastry, roll up into a sausage then cut into 2cm thick rounds. Bake according to the pastry instructions.